Thursday, July 14, 2016


On a less solemn pre-race note, I thought I'd post some pictures from our training and acclimation runs during our visit to Colorado.

It all started rather awfully with Harry, Martina and I arriving from sea level on Saturday, July 2nd to stay at Beat and Jill's place only to be cajoled into a 26 mile "run" the next day. The Pawnee-Buchanan Loop starts at 10,500ft and has over 7,000ft of climbing crossing three high passes (12,500ft, 11,800ft and 11,300ft). Needless to say, it was quite the "shock to the system" for us flatlanders.

Harry looks very happy up here at 12,000ft
However, at least the loop offered no shortage of awesome scenery to distract us from the misery of low-oxygen adventures. Once over the first pass, the views were pretty much continuous

It also had numerous waterfalls

and more than a few snow fields to cross

We managed to finish the loop, very slowly, and not without a bit of drama trying to make our way over the final pass. Despite the struggles it was probably a pretty good way to kick-start our systems into getting used to the altitude.

We made the 4th of July a pretty relaxed day with our only adventure being a stroll around part of Beat's 35 acre property. By "stroll" I mean bushwhacking and near crawling up steep slopes. I've had to work remotely during my time here so getting out for anything significant during the week was hard. However, where Beat lives up above Boulder, there are no shortage of trails right out his door so hitting a couple of peaks during the week wasn't too much trouble.

The Flatirons

We headed up Bear Peak via the Fern Canyon trail which only went up to around 8,300ft, but first dropped down to 6,300ft before making the 2,000ft climb to the summit in 1.4 miles.

Start of the run goes by a sign that says no "jogging" which was funny

Harry and Beat discussing something before the big climb
Beat chilling at the top
Obligatory summit selfie 
Harry making his way to the peak

We hung out at the peak for a bit, but I did have to get back to Beat's to work so I headed down before all five of us made it to the top. The next day I joined Jill in the evening heading up Green Mountain so we could meet Beat on his run home from work. It was a bit more mellow and shorter run, but I have to say that it is a pretty sweet commute that Beat has.

Didn't take any pictures from the run, but it's the peak on the left in this picture from Beat's house
We did another very short run at Walker Ranch which is a beautiful little trail less than a mile from Beat's house. After that we took some rest until Saturday where the plan was to do around 15 miles round trip hitting James Peak at just over 13,000ft. Beat had come down with a bit of a stomach bug so it was just Jill, Martina, Harry and I on this run. It was a more mellow trail and a lot more mellow pace as Harry and I stuck together and then took multiple long breaks waiting on Jill and then Martina. Spending rest time at 11, 12 and then 13,000ft was probably pretty good for our acclimation and didn't beat either of us up too much. We bounded down the final bit of trail back to the car which was rocky, rooty and loads of fun.

We waited by this nice alpine lake as our first stop
We waited for Martina at the top of a very steep climb then Harry went and met her for the final bit enabling this photo op
The peak isn't especially spectacular, but the views in the distance were excellent and the weather perfect
Sunday morning we had an early morning wake up to drive back to Denver and catch flights, Martina for home and Harry and I down to Silverton. For the days leading to the race we would stay at 9,300ft where the race starts. We met up with a few other friends doing the race on Sunday, but mostly rested and got used to the air a little higher up.

On Monday we decided to do a short (but steep, everything here is steep) hike part-way up the final climb of the race. This started at Cunningham Gulch (around mile 90 in the race) in the race and gained 1000ft in the first 0.8 miles. We continued on up to around 12,500ft and hung out for a bit before returning to the car.

I like this shot where Harry appears to be sitting on a flower!

The pass behind my head is what will come over first before making this climb sometime late Saturday

I was still trying to get as much work done in the week before the race as I could and we also didn't want to push ourselves too much so we only planned one more real jaunt up to higher ground. On Tuesday we headed out to Grouse Gulch which is close to mile 60 in the race and the start of the climb up to Handies Peak over 14,000ft. We will likely be doing this sometime early Saturday morning (hopefully very early). We decided not to go all the way up to the summit, but headed over the 13,000ft pass into American Basin where we sat and enjoyed our lunch.

View heading up
Harry coming up the trail
Lake part way up
We had to share our lunch spot
It really was a pretty nice lunch spot

We spent the next couple of days just resting in town, taking care of pre-race business and getting more work done (for me). It's now the night before the race and whether the preparation I've done is enough will play out over the next couple days. The weather has warmed up which generally isn't good for me, but the evenings have been quite cool. I will just try to take it as easy as possible during the warmth of the day and try to move well in the cooler temps. No matter what, I will try to enjoy my time in the mountains and make the best of this experience called Hardrock.

Race web site link
Tracking website to follow my progress (#46)

1 comment:

Miki said...

Wow. I'm jealous. There. I said it. I'm jealous. Have a peaceful and wonderful and everything journey. ~miki